West Linn coeds turn hot from long range and beat Oregon City in league for the first time in nearly three decades \

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon City senior Jessica Gertz advances the ball up the floor during last weeks game at West Linn. Gertz scored a game-high 20 points, but it wasnt enough, as the Lions turned hot from downtown and rallied to a 68-61 victory.Ninth-ranked West Linn stunned fourth-ranked Oregon City, rallying late to beat the Pioneers 68-61 in a Feb. 4 high school girls basketball game played at West Linn.

It was the first time that a West Linn girls basketball team had beaten Oregon City in league play since the 1984-85 season.

“They beat us twice [that season],” said retired Oregon City coach Brad Smith. “I am not sure if they or Lake Oswego won league or if they tied that year. I just know we didn’t.”

Oregon City has claimed at least a share of the Three Rivers League title every year for the past 20 seasons, with the exception of 2011, when the Pioneers finished second to a team from Clackamas that went undefeated in league (15-0) for the first time in school history.

With last week’s upset of Oregon City, West Linn put the race for the 2014 TRL girls basketball title in a three-team logjam, with the Pioneers (12-6, 4-1), Clackamas (15-4, 4-1) and West Linn (15-3, 4-1) tied for first place.

Fifth-ranked Clackamas was to host West Linn on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Oregon City meets Clackamas at Clackamas at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18. In first round league games, Oregon City defeated Clackamas 43-28 and Clackamas defeated West Linn 48-39.

The Pioneers appeared to have last week’s game in hand, leading 46-36 with 2:58 remaining in the third quarter.

But there was no quit in the Lions, and they came out like gangbusters in the fourth quarter, hitting 6-of-10 shots from the floor, including four 3-pointers.

Meanwhile, someone put a lid on the Pioneers’ basket down the stretch, as their shots refused to drop.

Ashley Johnson brought West Linn fans to their feet when she hit a 3-pointer with 3:26 to play, tying the score at 59-59.

Following an Oregon City traveling violation, Sidney Kolasinski connected from downtown, gaining the Lions their first lead since late in the first quarter, and West Linn fans went crazy.

Oregon City point guard Toria Bradford took the ball to the basket for a lay-up with 1:26 left to trim West Linn’s lead to 62-61.

But then the Pioneers missed on their last five shots from the floor, while Johnson (4-for-6) and Genna Hughes (2-for-2) combined to go 6-for-8 from the charity stripe to secure the win.

The Lions had balanced scoring, with Kolasinski (13 points), Johnson (11 points), Hughes (10 points), Morgan Haskin (10 points) and Taylor Enders-Smith (10 points) all scoring in double digits.

West Linn had twelve 3-point baskets in the game, with five different players connecting from beyond the arc.

Kolasinski hit four 3-pointers; Johnson had three treys. Johnson, Kolasinski, Enders-Smith and Caitlin Malvar all hit 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, when the Lions made their run.

Oregon City senior wing Jessica Gertz hit four 3-pointers and she scored a game-high 20 points on the night. But she bricked two 3-pointers inside the final 30 seconds of play.

Oregon City sophomore point guard Cierra Walker scored 15 points and senior point guard Toria Bradford scored 13.

The Pioneers had six 3-pointers in the losing effort.

“Much credit to West Linn,” said Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf. “We were never able to stretch the lead past 10 points and they shot the ball incredibly well — 12-of-27 from the 3-point line — to beat us....

“We are disappointed, but we know that the credit goes to the great shooting of West Linn. Many of their shots were high difficulty shots and most were very timely....

“Offensively, we felt good about our production. We just couldn’t finish them.... Defensively, we just couldn’t contain the hot shooting of Ashley Johnson and Sidney Kolasinski.”

“They killed us on the pick-and-roll,” said Walker. “We could have rotated better and played better defense. And we could have rebounded better.”

Walker added, “[This loss is] pretty devastating. They’re our biggest rivals.... We’ve got to come back and keep pushing ourselves to get better.”

The contest was mostly a half-court game. Oregon City had 11 turnovers; West Linn had 16. West Linn claimed a 28-27 edge in rebounding.

For the game, Oregon City was 19-of-50 from the field; West Linn was 21-of-49 from the field.

Guelsdorf had Bradford with a team-high eight rebounds, Walker with a team-high six assists and Alyssa Durr with a team-high three steals.

Oregon City returns to the hardcourt this Friday, playing Canby (13-6, 2-3) on the road.

Things went from bad to worse for Oregon City on Feb. 4, as West Linn’s number-one-in-the-state-ranked boys team followed up the girls game with an 82-42 trouncing of their Pioneer counterparts.

The Lions showed up ready to play, and they out-hustled and outplayed their rivals in every phase of the game.

Many fans left at halftime, with the Lions up 42-15 and the game already decided.

Anthony Mathis (15 points), Payton Pritchard (14 points), Ryan Shearmire (11 points), Will Matthiessen (10 points) and C.J. Sitton (9 points) led twelve West Linn players who put points on the scoreboard.

Brad Martin (9 points) was the top point-getter for Oregon City.

It was one of the biggest blowouts of the season for West Linn (15-4, 5-0), which has not lost a game to an in-state opponent this season, except for a 75-66 setback at the hands of Jefferson, the top-ranked team in Class 5A, in early December.

The Lions were to meet Clackamas (16-3, 4-1) on the road on Tuesday (Feb. 11) in their first game of the second round of the league season. They won 63-43 in a Jan. 17 game with the Cavaliers, played at West Linn. Clackamas was ranked No. 2 in the state — back of West Linn — in last week’s Class 6A boys basketball coaches poll.

Oregon City guys finished the first half of the TRL season with a record of 2-3 (11-7 overall). The Pioneers play Canby (7-10, 0-5) on the road this Friday and they play Clackamas on the road next Tuesday.

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